Nanomaterials2014, 4(4), 879-893; doi:10.3390/nano4040879 - published 4 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are considered the most promising candidates to replace Cu and Al in a large number of electrical, mechanical and thermal applications. Although most CNT industrial applications require macro and micro size CNT fiber assemblies, several techniques to make conducting CNT fibers, threads, yarns and ropes have been reported to this day, and improvement of their electrical and mechanical conductivity continues. Some electrical applications of these CNT conducting fibers require an insulating layer for electrical insulation and protection against mechanical tearing. Ideally, a flexible insulator such as hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR) on the CNT fiber can allow fabrication of CNT coils that can be assembled into lightweight, corrosion resistant electrical motors and transformers. HNBR is a largely used commercial polymer that unlike other cable-coating polymers such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), it provides unique continuous and uniform coating on the CNT fibers. The polymer coated/insulated CNT fibers have a 26.54 μm average diameter—which is approximately four times the diameter of a red blood cell—is produced by a simple dip-coating process. Our results confirm that HNBR in solution creates a few microns uniform insulation and mechanical protection over a CNT fiber that is used as the electrically conducting core.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(4), 856-878; doi:10.3390/nano4040856 - published 17 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nano-textured porous metal materials present unique surface properties due to their enhanced surface energy with potential applications in sensing, molecular separation and catalysis. In this paper, commercial alloy foils, including brass (Cu85Zn15 and Cu70Zn30) and white gold (Au50Ag50) foils have been chemically de-alloyed to form nano-porous thin films. The impact of the initial alloy micro-structure and number of phases, as well as chemical de-alloying (DA) parameters, including etchant concentration, time and solution temperature on the final nano-porous thin film morphology and properties were investigated by electron microscopy (EM). Furthermore, the penetration depth of the pores across the alloys were evaluated through the preparation of cross sections by focus ion beam (FIB) milling. It is demonstrated that ordered pores ranging between 100 nm and 600 nm in diameter and 2–5 μm in depth can be successfully formed for the range of materials tested. The microstructure of the foils were obtained by electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) and linked to development of pits across the material thickness and surface during DA. The role of selective etching of both noble and sacrificial metal phases of the alloy were discussed in light of the competitive surface etching across the range of microstructures and materials tested.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(4), 844-855; doi:10.3390/nano4040844 - published 13 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Nanofluids are becoming increasingly popular as heat transfer fluids in a variety of industrial applications, due to their enhanced heat transfer characteristics. The thermal conductivity of nanofluids is usually found to be much larger than that predicted from the classical models, such as the Maxwell model. The key mechanism of enhancement of thermal conductivity of dilute nanofluids is the solvation of nanoparticles with a layer of matrix liquid. As of now, little is known quantitatively about the thermal conductivity of the interfacial layers surrounding the nanoparticles. In this article, a novel method is presented to determine the thermal conductivity of the interfacial layers of the nanoparticles. The proposed method allows the estimation of the thermal conductivity of interfacial layers based on the combined measurements of the intrinsic viscosity and intrinsic thermal conductivity of a bulk nanofluid. From the measured intrinsic viscosity of the nanofluid, the thickness of the interfacial layer is estimated. Using the known interfacial layer thickness along with the measured intrinsic thermal conductivity of the nanofluid, the thermal conductivity of the interfacial layer is estimated. The proposed method is validated by simulation and experimental results.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 827-843; doi:10.3390/nano4030827 - published 17 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hydrophobins are small proteins secreted by fungi and which spontaneously assemble into amphipathic layers at hydrophilic-hydrophobic interfaces. We have examined the self-assembly of the Class I hydrophobins EAS∆15 and DewA, the Class II hydrophobin NC2 and an engineered chimeric hydrophobin. These Class I hydrophobins form layers composed of laterally associated fibrils with an underlying amyloid structure. These two Class I hydrophobins, despite showing significant conformational differences in solution, self-assemble to form fibrillar layers with very similar structures and require a hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface to trigger self-assembly. Addition of additives that influence surface tension can be used to manipulate the fine structure of the protein films. The Class II hydrophobin NC2 forms a mesh-like protein network and the engineered chimeric hydrophobin displays two multimeric forms, depending on assembly conditions. When formed on a graphite surface, the fibrillar EAS∆15 layers are resistant to alcohol, acid and basic washes. In contrast, the NC2 Class II monolayers are dissociated by alcohol treatment but are relatively stable towards acid and base washes. The engineered chimeric Class I/II hydrophobin shows increased stability towards alcohol and acid and base washes. Self-assembled hydrophobin films may have extensive applications in biotechnology where biocompatible; amphipathic coatings facilitate the functionalization of nanomaterials.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 813-826; doi:10.3390/nano4030813 - published 11 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tuberculosis is a major problem in public health. While new effective treatments to combat the disease are currently under development, they tend suffer from poor solubility often resulting in low and/or inconsistent oral bioavailability. Mesoporous materials are here investigated in an in vitro intracellular assay, for the effective delivery of compound PA-824; a poorly soluble bactericidal agent being developed against Tuberculosis (TB). Mesoporous materials enhance the solubility of PA-824; however, this is not translated into a higher antibacterial activity in TB-infected macrophages after 5 days of incubation, where similar values are obtained. The lack of improved activity may be due to insufficient release of the drug from the mesopores in the context of the cellular environment. However, these results show promising data for the use of mesoporous particles in the context of oral delivery with expected improvements in bioavailability.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 792-812; doi:10.3390/nano4030792 - published 4 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: During evolution, living organisms have learned to design biomolecules exhibiting self-assembly properties to build-up materials with complex organizations. This is particularly evidenced by the delicate siliceous structures of diatoms and sponges. These structures have been considered as inspiration sources for the preparation of nanoscale and nanostructured silica-based materials templated by the self-assembled natural or biomimetic molecules. These templates range from short peptides to large viruses, leading to biohybrid objects with a wide variety of dimensions, shapes and organization. A more recent strategy based on the integration of biological self-assembly as the driving force of silica nanoparticles organization offers new perspectives to elaborate highly-tunable, biofunctional nanocomposites.